Long-time Lake Forest Resident Thomas J. Tropp Joins First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest as New Director of Music


Tom Tropp/Lake Forest Joe Shuman 2013/J. Shuman Photography

Lake Forest, Ill. – April 16, 2015 – After months of searching, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest has found its new Director of Music and Arts Ministry right in its own backyard. First Presbyterian is proud to announce that Lake Forest resident Thomas J. Tropp, DMus., has accepted the role of Director of Music and will start his post on July 1.

“We have spent the last seven months soliciting and prayerfully considering more than 40 resumes, looking for the ideal candidate,” said Mary Watanabe, chair of the First Presbyterian Music Search Committee. “After listening to hours of choir and organ music, and interviewing multiple candidates—who all had advanced music degrees and extensive experience—Dr. Tropp was clearly above the rest and is the most qualified person for the job.”

Dr. Tropp brings with him not only extensive musical knowledge as a conductor, musicologist and recording producer, but also strong community ties. A resident since 1986 and graduate of Lake Forest High School, he has his pulse on the city’s music scene. He currently serves on the Lake Forest Symphony Board and is the director of First Presbyterian’s Sanctuary Choir, a role he will continue to play. Dr. Tropp also served on the board of CenterStage in Lake Forest for six years while, also serving as a music director, lighting designer, or executive producer for many productions.

“This is a unique and humbling opportunity to take an already very advanced music ministry, cultivated over many years by some amazing predecessors, and prepare it for future generations,” Dr. Tropp said.

According to First Presbyterian head pastor, Rev. Dr. Christine Chakoian, “As the director of the Sanctuary Choir for the last nine years, Dr. Tropp has had a great feel for the capabilities and nuances of our music ministry. We are thrilled to have him take on this greater role and further God’s kingdom through music.”

Upon starting his new position, Dr. Tropp will be hard at work increasing and enhancing congregational participation in music. “We have excellent choirs and instruments already; our next step is to equip our congregation to more actively engage in the musical aspects of worship,” he added.


In addition to his responsibilities at First Presbyterian, Dr. Tropp is also the founder and managing editor of The Galant Masters Project, an editorial venture intended to rediscover lost works of Galant-style sacred music; president of SoundByte Studios, an internationally-respected recording services company specializing in choral and orchestral record production; music director of the Chicago Galant Consort, a professional early music group serving as the resident ensemble of the Galant Masters Project; and is a faculty member in the School of Music at North Park University in Chicago.

He holds a bachelor of music education degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, a master of music degree in conducting and historical musicology from The University of Arizona and a doctor of music degree from Northwestern University.

About First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest

Our mission at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest is to send inspired and well-equipped followers of Jesus into the world, loving and serving God in their daily lives. We invite you to join us in these resilient Christian practices: worship, learn, connect, serve and invite. Find out more about our worship services, study groups, mission outreach and fellowship opportunities by visiting our website at www.firstchurchlf.org or calling us at (847) 234-6250.


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